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After former BPE DG, Insurance broker, EFCC Arraigns Ex –Power Minister for N148m PHCH Severance Benefit Bribe

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A week after putting the Director-General of the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Benjamin Dikki; and an Insurance broker, Mr. Abiodun Waheed Hassan, on trial for alleged bribery, the Economic and financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, arraigned a former Minister of State for Power, Muhammed Wakil, before Justice S.B.Belgore of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Apo, Abuja on a two-count charge of corruption and abuse of office.

Wakil was arraigned alongside two companies, Corozzeria Nigeria Limited and Pikat Properties Nigeria Limited, for allegedly receiving N148,000,000.00 (One Hundred and forty Eight Million Naira Only),  as gratification from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited out of the N27,188,232,208.00(Twenty Seven Billion, One hundred and Eighty Eight million, two hundred and thirty two thousand ,Two hundred and Eight Naira, Twenty Kobo)  approved outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.

Count one of the charge reads; “That you Muhammed Wakil, while being Minister of Power and managing director of Corozzeria Nigeria Limited, and Corozzeria Nigeria Limited, on or about 22nd December, 2014, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did corruptly receive the sum of N118,000,000.00(One Hundred and Eighteen Million) Naira only through Corozzeria Nigeria Limited’s Polaris Bank Account No. 4010023658 from Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited out of the sum of N27,188,232,208.20(Twenty Seven Billion, One Hundred and Eighty Eight Million, Two Hundred and Thirty-two Thousand ,Two Hundred and Eight Naira, Twenty Kobo) only being the sum approved for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria( PHCN), and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(1)(a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 8(1)(b)(ii)of the same Act.”

When the charges were read, the defendant pleaded “not guilty.”

Counsel for the prosecution, Benjamin Manji asked the court to set a date for commencement of trial and remand the defendant at a Correctional Centre, pending trial.

However counsel for the defendants, B.C Igwilo SAN, prayed the court to grant bail to the 1st defendant. “My lord, our humble application is for the first defendant to be admitted to bail, “he said

But the prosecution counsel opposed the oral application, while urging the Court to order the defendant to file the application formally.

Justice Belgore adjourned the matter till March 31, 2021 for determination of bail application and remanded the defendant in the custody of the EFCC.

Last Thursday, Justice S. C. Oriji of the Federal Capital Territory High Court Apo, Abuja, granted bail to Abiodun Waheed Hassan and his company, Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited.

The EFCC, is prosecuting Hassan and his company, Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited, on a five count charge of criminal breach of trust in relation to the payment of Twenty-six Billion Naira (N26bn) outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.

Everyday.ng reports that in a similar case last Wednesday, Justice Yusuf Halilu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Maitama Abuja granted bail to a former Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, Benjamin Ezra Dikki and his Company, Kebna Studios & Communications Limited.

Dikki and his company, Kebna Studios & Communications Limited, were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on March 1, 2021 for allegedly receiving about a billion naira as gratification from Bestworth Insurance Brokers for his role in facilitating the approval of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power holding company of Nigeria (PHCN).

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